I Make America

Are you a Stellar Employee? Distributor? Customer? Do you know someone that works in a manufacturing job in the US? Most of you are going to answer yes to one of those questions – so read on and then join me at the end.

Several years ago one of the major associations we belong to, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers – or AEM, started a grassroots advocacy campaign called “I Make America”. The goal of the campaign is for US manufacturers to make some noise in Washington DC and advocate for pro-manufacturing policies to increase and sustain jobs and prosperity for America’s equipment manufacturers, such as ourselves. Through the I Make America campaign, the AEM encourages participating member companies, their employees and customers, to support the manufacturing industry, get involved, and take action on domestic policy issues that matter most to us and our communities.

We quickly climbed on board with the campaign. Since the inception of the campaign, Stellar has worked diligently throughout the years getting employees, vendors and customers to pledge their support by signing up for the campaign on the www.imakeamerica.com website. We’ve written numerous letters to our representatives, we’ve hosted the representatives, the governor and lt. governor, and we’ve hosted several presidential candidates. Our efforts and our participation is a sign to our elected representatives that we want them to listen to us and to take action on the items that support pro-manufacturing policies in the US – such as the Highway Bill. We want Washington to create business conditions that will help grow our economy, increase and sustain US manufacturing jobs by encouraging infrastructure investment, protect the US farming and manufacturing industries, increase our American exports, and help the US keep pace with other global manufacturing companies and producers.

So today, as in days past, I stand up again and declare “I Make America!” How about you? Do YOU make America? I think you do – Help us make some noise in Washington. It costs you nothing more than a few minutes of your time to sign up to show your support, and the rewards can be priceless. Join Stellar and the AEM at www.IMakeAmerica.com or follow them on Twitter and Facebook @IMakeAmerica – let’s make some noise!

ICUEE 2015 – In the Books

The ICUEE (International Construction & Utility Equipment Expo) – also known as the Demo Expo – has come to a close for 2015. While we went into the week expecting sunny and 80 degrees, Mother Nature decided to change her mind on us. In true ICUEE fashion, we endured a day and a half of rain, cool temperatures, and a brisk breeze. It seems it wouldn’t be an ICUEE show without all the extreme weather conditions rolled into those three days.

Stellar had a nice presence at the show this year. Our booth was located in the outdoor “N” lot, in front of the convention center. We displayed our popular TMAX™1 service body and the Stellar® 7621 crane equipped with an E-Link Touch system and the Stellar® CDTplus™ crane control system, and we had the X-Tra-Lift in the booth as well. Booth visitors had the opportunity to see the X-Tra-Lift run up and into the truck and out again, or they could see first hand how the Stellar® Crane operated and get a first-hand look at the real-time load information displayed on the LCD screen on the remote handle. As you wondered the aisles of the show with your umbrella, you were sure to not get far without seeing a Stellar crane in various other booths as well. Some of our distribution, partners and end users had a Stellar crane on display in their booths. It is always fun to see that we’ve made such an impact on and created such a strong presence in this market.

So despite the inclement weather, we managed to collect a solid array of leads that we will be following up on in the next few weeks. We also had the opportunity to meet with several of our current end users and distributors for feedback and great discussions.

A little about the ICUEE Demo Expo – it is the largest event in North America for the utilities and utility contractors seeking new equipment and new technologies for their businesses. It takes place every other year, in Louisville, Ky at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. There are over 25 acres of exhibit space, indoor and outdoor, and over 850 exhibitors consuming that space. A majority of the booths have demonstrations and hands-on opportunities for the attendees. The show is owned and run by the AEM, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which Stellar is an active member. Early reports have indicated that attendance for the 2015 show was at record numbers, hosting over 18,000 attendees.

Next show on the calendar for Stellar Industries is the AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida Oct. 15-18. The X-Tra-Lift will be on display for all the motorcycle dealers and enthusiasts to check out first hand.

Planning For Game Time.

NFL Pre-Season in upon us and fans are getting a feel for how the 2015-16 season may play out.  However, the games don’t really matter and as a fan, I am only partially engaged as I watch, it’s more like background noise while I’m checking e-mails or surfing the web.  The games are played more for the players trying to make the team and the coaches trying to figure out their 53 man roster.   Injuries also happen in these games and the grimace is even worse as we realize it happened during a meaningless game.  I just want the season to start and get to the real games.

This causes me to reflect on our contact with customers and how we manage our activities with them.  How often are we engaging in activity that is more show for ourselves or our own organizations versus trying to add real value to the scarce contact time we have with them.  How often do we injure our relationship in a meaningless contact that could have been better thought out in terms of customer value?  Sure, creative marketing contact to help get customers excited about the actual sales call is wonderful, but that initial sales call is not the pre-season, it is game on and so is every customer contact thereafter.

Plan for activity that is value added for the customer and not just checking off a To-Do list to impress ourselves with metrics.  Remember the adage:  “Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment” –it is new sales, repeat sales and ultimately sales growth that is truly important, and we get there by using our valuable customer time to drive value for them, and therefore, ourselves.

Listen…Apply…Repeat

We at Stellar Industries, Inc. have developed a strong reputation as a company that is constantly forging ahead with innovative new products for our customers. Examples of this are the CDTplus™ crane controller system, the T-Max™ series of mechanic service bodies, and our recently introduced chassis specific tire service bodies build around the new Ford Transit. These products are important to us at Stellar as they allow us to continue to grow our company by reaching into new markets and new users for our products. With this success we are enjoying, I get asked “How do you do it?” by people in our industries and in our local communities.

I don’t want to get in trouble for giving away company secrets, but it’s really quite simple. 1) We listen to our customers as they describe their day-to-day challenges , 2) We apply our knowledge, design, and manufacturing expertise to develop a solution to our customer’s dilemmas, and 3) We repeat steps #1 and #2. That may be over simplifying things a bit, but it really is that simple. With the strong team of professionals we have here at Stellar Industries, this is an everyday occurrence for us. The Stellar recipe for success is not as simple as this recipe, but it is definitely a recipe that comes naturally to our experienced staff.

Active Ingredients – Interns

As our interns prepare to head back to school I realize the summer has flown by – WAIT! When did that happen? It seems as if they have just joined our family and now they have started to leave our nest. Over the last 10 weeks we have encouraged and nurtured them while basking in their successes as only a proud parent would. We are hoping that the information, skills and manufacturing insight we have provided has instilled a confidence in not only their choice of internship but the manufacturing industry and their chosen career paths.

Stellar Industries views our offered internships as a partnership between the student and our company. In order for this partnership to be successful, a number of factors (magical potion if you will) must be combined. We offer the opportunity, defined learning objectives/goals, work experience that continues their classroom learning, supervision and guidance as well as feedback that support the objectives/goals. The student offers their time and commitment to the internship, the knowledge they have gained thru their education, their ability to make the connection between concepts, theories and practice. The student comes to us with their goals for learning and we work together to create an environment where both partners feel the internship is a success.

So to our 2015 Interns, thank you for choosing Stellar Industries, Inc. as your summer family! It’s hard to say goodbye when you have left us with such lasting impressions. We are proud to partner with you in your learning experience. We wish the best for you in your future and hope that when you look back on your time at Stellar, you smile. Spread your wings and fly!